Murkowski Applauds Three Year Exemption for Iditarod Air Force

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted the Iditarod Air Force a three year exemption to fly in support of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, according to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

The all-volunteer Iditarod Air Force has been flying in support of the race for more than 20 years, but has had to apply for exemptions from the FAA for the past two years to do so. FAA regulations prohibit volunteer pilots from accepting any cost deferments such as fuel, accommodations and food.

Sen. Murkowski has strongly supported the Iditarod Air Force in years past and has assisted in obtaining previous exemptions.

"I am pleased that the FAA continues to recognize the importance of the volunteers in the Iditarod Air Force and found a way for them to operate, while protecting safety and addressing the concerns of commercial carriers," Murkowski said. "I am also pleased that a three year exemption has been granted giving the Iditarod Air Force, race organizers and the FAA time to find a permanent solution to this issue. I look forward to assisting in that effort."

The Iditarod Air Force flies food and fuel to checkpoints for both dogs and mushers, transports volunteers, judges, and veterinarians as well as moves dropped and scratched dogs.

The extension, Exemption No. 9810A, will expire after the 2012 race.

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